Adivah, Dharamsala

We have been back on travelling grid for a bit now, and only thing that becomes more and more clear is – if you want to travel, do it responsibly. The hospitality industry is welcoming guests all over India with open arms with safety protocols and making the guest experience as safe and memorable as possible. Choosing a location and property could take an extra effort now. But well here is my bit, first hand experience so all you have to do is just BOOK!

The beauty and tranquility of the Himalayas transcend all others. Situated within the mighty lofts of the Himalayas is the magnificent valley of Himachal. Nestled in the lap of this valley is Adivaha – a resort in Dharamsala. Adivaha resort is a 3 centuries old, heritage building, that has been recently restored and remodeled to serve every traveler in search of peace and tranquility. The boutique resort  is situated within just a 30 minutes drive from the nearest airport in the bustling city of Dharamsala. It is surrounded by lush green tea gardens and is spread over an area of 10 acres.  

Room – Adivah resort boasts of being an all-suite property. We stayed in their Viceroy Suite, that provides guests with a remarkable stay within the serenity of the Himalayas. The interiors of the suites are adorned with warm, elegant colour tones that exude a relaxing ambience. The suites overall are spacious, furnished with plush decor and a separate living room for the comfort of the guests. The best part however all the luxury suites open up to a spacious balcony that offers magnificent views. 

Food: The property has an all-day dining restaurant that offers a buffet spread as well as Alacarte menu. In room dining or a private setup in your garden, they do it all. From continental to Indian the food here is absolutely delicious. We also requested to try the local cuisine and chef served us with a Himachali Thali that was delight to our senses.  Handpicked from different regions of the valley, it was an amalgamation of flavors and a great end to our vacation. With outdoor as well as indoor sitting areas, the dining area serves the best in ambience and flavors. 

I was travelling with two of my friends and not once did we step out of the property. We spent our days laying on grass in our private lawns, brewing coffee, watching sunsets, ordering in room in room dining, cycling within the properties, we even had our own little yoga session in our garden. It was an experience that filled our soul with so much happiness and rejuvenation.

Check them out : www.leisurehotels.co.in 

Hope you enjoyed reading and getting to know yet another Indian designer through my style and thoughts. Don’t forget to subscribe so you get all updates right in your mailbox. Also follow me on Instagram @ssatpreetkaur , Facebook –FashionEatista, for more instant updates on all things fun, food, fashion and travel.

Love Satpreet Kaur.

SUITECASE OF MEMORIES WITH HYATT

Do you ever visit a same place twice and it only gets better with every visit? Dharamshala has become a yearly visit for me and in last 5 years, there is something about its culture, food but most importantly experiences I think, that keeps making me want to go back every year. This year however was a bold move.  I (just like everyone else) was cooped up for a really long time and my friends and I decided to go experience a safe hospitality with Hyatt Dharamshala.  

It was my second visit to the property and under all safety measures their hospitality is exactly what we needed post lockdown. The beautiful room that gave away the view of breathtaking Dhauladhars and pine trees, while in-room it was spacious enough for us 3 girls to have a spacious 3 days of stay. Getting ready in the spacious bathroom and walk-in closet reminded us of the days gone by. The rooms were well equipped with all modern amenities, special mention to the room coffee machine and bath robes that, we used the most! 

While our day introduced us to new experiences our night matched up to it as well. We spent our evenings at 2082, the bar at Hyatt that is one of the best in Dharamshala. An ideal place for an aperitif or after-dinner drink. With both indoor and outdoor seating options, and an adjacent fireplace, 2082 is a comfortable venue offering a wide selection of premium alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, light munches and an afternoon tea selection. What one must try are the locally infused drinks, that were refreshingly new for our taste buds. 

Food – Hyatt Regency Dharamshala Resort offers a variety of locally inspired cuisines which provides authentic Himachali experience as well as the comforting delight of Global cuisine.  Thym there all-day dining restaurant offers both indoor and outdoor seating, and is an ideal setting for family dining through a combination of interactive breakfast buffets and thoughtfully curated à la carte menus for lunch and dinner.  

The resort features a ‘Home Cinema’ that can accommodate up to 15 persons at one go, delivering an intimate audio-visual experience. On our last night at the property, I enjoyed a dose of ZNMD with my friends and couldn’t have asked for a better end to the holiday.  

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Love Satpreet Kaur

Rosé Amer, Jaipur

Jaipur has never been short of experience, even when I feel I have seen most of it in this beautiful Pink city, there is something that always blows my mind. My experience at Rose Amer was exactly that. Tucked right in the center of the city, the exterior of the place keeps the mystery of what’s inside perfectly enveloped. It is only when you enter the lobby you see the little details that add up to the big reveal (well at least for me, it was)

After a brief introduction of the place and a welcome drink ‘Anesthesia’ i was escorted to a beautiful private and outdoor cabana setup, where the pink and white theme was quite evident. My lunch experience (which can be booked on prior reservations only) came with a private server, an array of wine selections, and lunch that included dishes like – Parmesan cup with hokaya salad, Beer butterfish Orly, soya chap in khad style, Cucumber, and mint soup, Beetroot cream cheese nuts salad (my absolute favorite) followed by Herb-crusted chicken drumstick and Mooli ka halwa for dessert that blew my mind (that by the way was so well made, I could hardly taste the mooli bit, which I must say I hate). 

The well-trained staff made sure I had an amazing experience with their warm hospitality, timing the courses just right and though I couldn’t see the sunset, my late lunch extended through it and it ended with peacocks singing in the background. The meal overall was the best of local and continental food, a menu inspired by a book printed by the family of owners, years back called “Dadi Ki Rasoi” 

Can’t wait to return to this beautiful place, fit for modern-day royalty and experience a stay. I hear their rooms are a gem in terms of minimalistic decor and beautiful detailing. If you do happen to visit before me do share your experience with me on Instagram.

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Love Satpreet Kaur

Doodlage

Sometimes mind can contradict our own thoughts, i used think if you love fashion, its difficult to walk on path of sustainability; but then again, with time, i ask myself, if i truly respect the fashion i love.

I have never cared about fashion rules, i have always loved wearing colors i like, trends i adore (no matter how yesteryear they are) so trying to give up on fast fashion isn’t very hard (but i am just getting started). Not caring about trends doesn’t mean i am not aware of them, and being a 90’s kid, last decade i have only seen trends come back and nothing majorly fresh, a lot of reinvention, yes! but then again its a very personal opinion.

The only trend i have been trying to get in line is to buy thoughtfully and keep up the main aim- comfort and style. This dress i got from Doodlage is every bit of style and comfort and can easily go from work to brunch, movie date to a vacation outfit.

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Doodleage was born from a simple idea—to create unique, environment friendly products, that are high in style. Everything at Doodlage is made with love; every piece they make is exclusive and unique.

Doodlage is a perfect sync of sustainability and innovativeness. They work with eco-friendly fabrics, such as organic cotton, corn fabric, banana fabric. Another source of fabric is the left over or quality, discarded textile from large manufacturers, which account for the “wastage” in export terms. They also source fabrics, which are left unused by other retailers post-cutting. Much like pieces of a puzzle, these bits and pieces come together, each with its own story. As a brand they love experimenting with textures, embroideries, panels, washes, shapes and sizes to optimize the use of every little .

Hope you enjoy reading this, for more such sustainable brands don’t forget to check out my Conscious Living tab and don’t forget to subscribe so you get all updates right in your mailbox. Also follow me on Instagram @ssatpreetkaur , Facebook –FashionEatista, for more instant updates on all things fun, food, fashion and travel.

Love Satpreet Kaur

 

Hyatt Regency Dharamshala Resort 

Aerial view of the beautiful Hyatt Regency Dharamshala Resort 
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Hello from the Shanti Villa, Hyatt Regency Dharamshala Resort 

The pretty town in Dharamshala, covered with cedar trees and surrounded by Dhauladhar range was my last escape before pandemic hit us. The amazing new property was a refreshing getaway and now that i look back i am so grateful i did, and an experience i hold on to as we are all quarantined in our safe spaces.

I fell in love with Mcleodgunj when i took a solo trip there. this was my 4th visit to the town and there is something about the air, the sunsets, the monks and monasteries, the beautiful cafes and familiar uphill roads that feels  now home. Dharamshala overall is a great place for leisure and adventure travelers and has a lot of options of beautiful cafes, luxury stay and treks that will leave you breathless, with the view of course. This time i was staying with new luxury property – Hyatt Regency Dharamshala Resort that opened in Dharmkot, which is located at slightly higher altitude that McLeodgunj.

The outdoor of Hyatt Regency Dharamshala Resort 
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The backyard forest at Hyatt Regency Dharamshala Resort 

The world of Hyatt extends its hospitality with a refreshing new property spread across 6.5 acres, situated in the profound depths of the Dhauladhar mountain range of the outer Himalayas. The property is picturesquely ideal for family, solo, and romantic getaways and offers experiences that will give you a true break from hustle bustle of city life.

Room  of Villa Shanti, Hyatt Regency Dharamshala Resort 
Living area with a view at Hyatt Regency Dharamshala Resort 

Rooms- Hyatt Regency Dharamshala is located near the residence of H.H. Dalai Lama, also known as Tsuglagkhang Temple. It features 80 well-appointed accommodations, including 4 private villas, 3 suites, 17 Club rooms, 15 rooms with balconies, and 41 Hyatt king and twin-bed rooms offering fresh Himalayan air through large openable windows. The resort also features 21 interconnecting room sets, ideal for travelling families. All the rooms have a view, either through their windows, balconies, private garden or just a n open lawn. It is incredible how centrally heated the hotel is, and with warm hospitality of the staff the experience we had was sure a memorable one.

The villa is well equipped with rooms, private verandah, dining space, kitchen area and a cosy staff room
The private lawn area, Hyatt Regency Dharamshala Resort 

Food – Hyatt Regency Dharamshala Resort offers a variety of locally inspired cuisines which provides authentic Himachali experience as well as the comforting delight of Global cuisine. Whether you are searching for local or international cuisine, you are sure to be satisfied with the choices that are to be found in the iconic area surrounded by the stunning architecture and culture within the heart of Dharamshala. The resort offers three outlets, Thym is an all-day dining restaurant offering both indoor and outdoor seating, is an ideal setting for family dining through a combination of interactive breakfast buffets and thoughtfully curated à la carte menus for lunch and dinner. Featuring the herb garden, the restaurant specialises in locally sourced farm-fresh food that celebrates the bounty of organic Himalayan farming, serving Indian and global cuisines.

Traditional food, Hyatt Regency Dharamshala Resort 

2082, the bar is one of the best in Dharamshala, an ideal place for an aperitif or after-dinner drink. Centrally located at the lobby level of the resort, 2082 overlooks the landscaped garden and the snow-capped Dhauladhar mountain range. The central island bar is the focus of the area, with both indoor and outdoor seating options. With an adjacent fireplace, 2082 is a comfortable venue offering a wide selection of premium alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, light munches and an afternoon tea selection. What one must try are the locally infused drinks, that were refreshingly new for our taste buds and a live music performance with live counters only made our experience here one of the best during our stay.

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Infused drinks, Local singers and live food coutnters, evenings at 2082 are just magical, Hyatt Regency Dharamshala Resort 

McLeod & Co. bakery and shop is the signature bakery, offering sweet delights inspired by the English-style nomenclature. The bakery is fun, fluid and blends tastefully with the lobby. It also serves as your general store within the resort with selected retail goods and souvenirs from across the region, and essential everyday items in case you have forgotten to pack them.

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High Tea at the McLeod & Co. Bakery and Shop, in hotel lobby.

Shanti Spa: The resort features three single and one couple spa therapy rooms and a wide range of relaxation therapies, from traditional, International, and other renowned contemporary massage therapies. But we recommend is the Tibetan massage that is influenced by local techniques and the use of oil that is made with the best or aromatic and essential oils.

Pool at Hyatt Regency Dharamshala Resort 
An evening of relaxed spa, Hyatt Regency Dharamshala Resort 

Library & Fireplace: One of our favorite spots in the property is the beautifully done indoor fireplace at the lounge area that keeps you warm while you enjoy a read at the library which offers an intriguing selection of literature on various historical and cultural areas of interest. Read or just enjoy a cup of hot Kangra tea while you adore the beautiful Thangka painting, it is a cozy spot for anyone who wants to unwind indoors.

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Hot cuppa tea, good read in centrally heated study area! most relaxed evening of the holiday (after spa of course)
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Fireplace and lounge area, Hyatt Regency Dharamshala Resort 

Fun & Entertainment The resort features a ‘Home Cinema’ that can accommodate up to 15 persons at one go, delivering an intimate audio-visual experience. Camp Hyatt – Kids Zone is a designated area for children where they can enjoy games and fun activities along with special buffet meals. This will allow some free time for parents who are traveling with their kids.

Morning Trek with Hyatt Regency Dharamshala Resort 

Must Experience: Bhagsu, Nature Walk, Offering an unparalleled landscape, the Bhagsunag area is a …. oGo along as they take you on a journey through sylvan surroundings where you will get acquainted with the local flora & fauna against the backdrop of a breathtaking waterfall. The resort offers this complimentary activity every day, that ends with a light and healthy breakfast, one you should not miss.

Tibetan Arts and Crafts Tour: To honor the heritage of authentic Tibetan arts and crafts, this guided tour to Norbulingka Institute allows guests to see and experience local crafts firsthand. The tour is an additional paid experience, you can include it in your itinerary while you are staying at the resort.

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Love Satpreet Kaur

 

Mystical Munnar

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Whenever I am given an option to go for a holiday, the first thing I do see look at the hills. Somewhere I haven’t been, somewhere, where the cool breeze hurdles through my hair, kisses my cheeks. The mere thought of it soothes my soul.

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Munnar wasn’t on my list, but I wasn’t going to say no when my girls brought it up.  The scenic hill station located on the Western Ghats, at an altitude of 1,600 meters above sea level, is no dearth of vistas. Munnar, as I got know from our chauffeur, in the local Malayalam language translates into three rivers.

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We stayed at The Blanket Hotel & Spa, a luxury retreat located amidst the green haven of Munnar.  Situated near the mystical Attukad waterfalls the hotel offers a seamless blend of nature – endless tea gardens, the Nilgris covered with dew and sun that peaks with beautiful strokes of rays from the heavy clouds.

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The property is a picturesque getaway and no matter which part of the hotel you are in – the resort, the room, the pool you are engulfed with the best of nature. The entire resort is cradled within a blanket of  lush spectrum of flora and fauna.

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Rooms – We stayed at the Presidential Suite, the most luxurious room at The Blanket Hotel and it was such an incredible stay. Spacious and elegantly furnished, their rooms are designed to indulge you. The natural colors and wooden decor blend with the surroundings recreating the serene ambience indoors. The view from our balcony, Jacuzzi and bed did complete justice to our luxurious getaway. The suite redefines luxury with a host of modern facilities and you can be rest assured of nothing short of an experience that leaves you wanting more. Waking up to the beautiful view, breathing fresh air from the balcony really soothes your soul and gives you holiday you have been craving for.

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Food– The dining experience at Blanket Hotel Munnar is a heavenly treat for the cuisine connoisseur in you. Their restaurant team headed by their skilled executive chef serves the most intricate and delicious dishes that will give your taste buds an experience to cherish. You can choose from a variety of local and international cuisine from our delectable menu. All our meals were at their all day, Multi Cuisine Restaurant that serves lavish buffet for breakfast and dinner and a-la-carte for lunch.  We through enjoyed their south Indian delicacies and highly recommend you to take a break from continental and enjoy the local special recommended by chef.

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Leisure – The property offers plenty of options through which you can explore the beauty of the Munnar.  You can trek with their in house naturalist who will take you through the tea plantations all the way up to the Attukad waterfalls. You can spend your leisure time indulging in Yoga, Pool or Meditation, witness Cultural Performance where you can treat yourself to traditional dance forms like Kuchipudi or Mohiniyattam.

Thulasi Ayurveda Spa –   You will notice in south Ayurveda has a huge importance and a traditional Ayurvedic therapy should be in you must-do list. We tried  their Rejuvenation Therapy an Indian traditional Massage, that helped me feel revitalized. A season where warm herbal oils depending on your dosha type are used to massage using rhythmic strokes with uniform pressure from head to toe which loosens accumulated toxins in the tissues, improves blood circulation, relaxes the muscles and counters the signs of aging

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Love Satpreet Kaur

Garli- An offbeat getaway

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Chateau Garli, Kangra – a cattle shed  that was transformed into a heritage property

Garli is a place where you can experience a beautiful embrace of history and heritage at one place. With travel becoming more personal, this is a perfect getaway for any unconventional traveler who likes to explore offbeat places, learn more about deep Indian roots and a slice of architecture.

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Village of Garli hold many stories of bygone era

Heritage Village Garli is marvel in every sense. There is hardly any other Indian suburb with such stunningly diverse styles of architecture on display among the mansions, temples and sarais, all of which stand testimony to the majestic existence Garli that once had. Garli is a classic example of collaborative town planning, vision & foresight of its founders. Established over a 100 years ago, many facets of a mini township were built in, ranging from education, health, to sanitation, commerce etc. examples of all these are still available to see. Today, an abandoned village, Garli is said to have been established in the seventeenth century by the Sud community of the region. Traditionally, the treasure keepers of Kangra’s ruling house.

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My beautiful corner in the room, with tinted color glass at The Chateau Garli

Where to stay: ‘The Chateau Garli’ is a heritage property, built in 1921 that has been restored to its age-old glory by carefully recreating the colonial, Portuguese, Mughal, Rajasthani and Kangri architectural influences that surround the Garli & Pragpur Village. The Chateau Garli offers a home away from home experience with additional comforts to pamper you. It is located on the foothills of Dhauladhar mountain range of the Himalayas, in the heritage village of Garli built in 1921 by Sud family who have now restored it to heritage property. The place boasts of impeccable details, from old gramophone, wooden radio, colonial furniture, crystal chandeliers, contrasting coloured windowpanes, and antique door handles.

Rooms keeping up with the theme have wooden furniture, the paintings a lot of which depict family trees and goddess, colorful embroidered bedspreads and the vibrant windowpanes. Everything at this boutique property transports you another era, also giving you all the urban amenities.  Each of the 19 rooms in the mansion was unique and distinctive.

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Pool Side restaurant at The Chateau Garli

Food: You can indulge in some local delicacies like Himachali Dhaam and fresh trout, preferably requested a day early. From their regular menu too food isn’t short of anything but a great meal. Must try dishes are the Pahari Mutton, Mandra, Maa ki dal, Laal Maas and Kanghri Dham all served at their poolside restaurant or comfort of your room.

The town reflects the progressive planning, that includes water and drainage system incorporated nearly a century ago. The Suds established a boys’ school in 1918, a special women’s hospital in 1921, and a girl’s school by 1955. These, along with Garli Water Works, which used imported copper pipes from London, inaugurated in 1928, are still operational. At a time when the rest of India was largely underdeveloped, the infrastructure of this tiny outpost was leagues ahead of its time.

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Spa at The Chateau Garli that has rural touch

Experiences
Sunset at Beas River -Even if you can view the sunset from the hotels in Kangra but this river bed in Garli offers the best sunset view in the whole village. Dipping your feet in the Beas river bed and encountering the sun set is a must do in Garli.

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Beas River

Night Safari in the Local Forest Reserve – This is for all the wildlife enthusiasts. Taking a jeep around 9 or 10 pm and driving through the local forest reserve would be a surprising adventure as you might spot a leopard, wild boar, wild rabbits or sambar.

 

 

Masroor rock temple
Masroor Temple

A Religious Tour – There are a vast number of temples in Garli as the city situated in the ‘Land of the Gods’- Himachal. Some of the famous temples in Garli are Jwalamukhi Temple, Maha Kaleshwar Temple, Baba Balaknath Temple, Kangra Devi Temple, Baglamukhi Temple and Chintpurni Temple.

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Must try- Kulfi, there is this man who sits under a tree and famous for his frozen kulfi, it tastes real good but what is fascinating is that i have been told, he doesn’t use ice. Leaves you wondering.

How to reach: By Air : Chandigarh (180 km) approx 4 Hrs, Gaggal (62 km) approx 1.5 Hrs
For more info and bookings – The Chateau Garli

Don’t forget to check out the blog on its sister property  – The Chalets Naldhera  a beautiful stay in Shimla. Subscribe to my blog so you get all updates right in your mailbox. Also follow me on Instagram @ssatpreetkaur,  for more instant updates on all things fun, food, fashion and travel.

Love Satpreet Kaur

Norwood Green Resort, Palampur

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View from the villa at Norwood Green Resort, Palampur

Palampur  has been known as ‘The Tea Capital of North India’. A small city 3600 ft above sea level is a popular hill station of India, rich in historic temples, forts and  its spectacular Himalayan views. Palampur is a plantation getaway situated in the Kangra valley overlooking Dhauladhar mountain Ranges. the town is less explored and least commercialized and that’s exactly what beautifies it.

I was staying at the Norwood Green by Lamrin resort, a place where you could enjoy both- the view of  tea garden when you lower your sight and Dhauladhar range when you see up from the backyard of your private villa. The experience of spending leisure time amidst beautiful Palampur Valley of Himachal Pradesh that is yet unexplored by most tourists, waking up and spending your days so close to nature was a heart warming experience. I was here with my family and we din’t feel a need to utilize the available tv, or play any games. we spoke, went for walks, fed the pet who wondered in our backyard and revisited old memories. I think it was in the air and vibe that all we wanted to do was just hold back and breathe, an experience we haven’t had in a really long time.

Norwood Green provides you an exquisite resort that has a experience similar of a luxurious home stay, amidst the serenity of the Himalayan ranges and sprawling tea gardens. Its charming aristocratic architecture will transport you to a different era, while providing you with every modern amenity you need and your own butler, who bring everything to you on call.

There is a dedicated team at Norwood Green will take care of you from arrival to departure, your food to laundry and also help you plan any activities and walk if you wish to indulge.  Their concept is simple, they offer guests a home away from home, a place to switch off and unwind, to re-connect with each other and with nature. For all the time we were there, we all had one common thought, if ever owned a home in hills, it would exactly be like this.

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The beautiful living room at Norwood Green Resort, Palampur

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The other side of living room that extends to dining area and opens up to the backyard at Norwood Green Resort, Palampur

Rooms– If you are a group of four or six or more, you can have an entire villa to yourself, we were four and since the other room wasn’t booked, we had the villa all to ourselves. Each of their exquisite villas has four rooms, all of which have flat screen TV, four well equipped bathrooms, private dining area, private kitchen and living area. Apart from this one of the room comes with a spacious balcony, the others have view of the tea gardens or mountains and the whole cottage at Norwood Green has access to rear garden at back overlooking tea gardens along with mighty snow covered Dhauladhar mountain ranges.  Our evenings included sipping hot ginger lemon tea or have aloo parathas, play music and make the most out of the little moments.

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Room with a view at Norwood Green Resort, Palampur

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The spacious balcony outside my room at Norwood gGeen Resort, Palampur

Charming and spacious interiors, to beautiful panoramic views of the mountainside, every moment at the Norwood Green, Palampur is peacefully delightful. While you feast on authentic, local Himachali dishes, the warm hospitality of the staff will help you retire after a fruitful day.

Activities in Palampur At Palampur you will find yourself surrounded by lush greenery and abundant rivers and streams, and a very pleasant climate that will draw you in, and make you never want to leave. And when it comes to tourist attractions, Palampur has more than enough to offer. Just a walk around Palampur will let you enjoy its beautiful colonial architecture. The tea factory, St John’s Church, Bundla waterfall, Neogal Park are interesting places to visit. The village of Andretta, 13 km from Palampur is known for its pottery. The town of Baijnath, 16 km away is famous for its Shiva temple, and the Tibetan monastery at Tashijong, is 12 km away. Adventure seekers will find trek routes leading out of Palampur and into the Dhauladhar mountains. The towns of Bir and Billing have gained international reputation as paragliding sites. Dharamshala and Mc Leod Ganj are also popular tourist places near Palampur.

Don’t forget to subscribe so you get all updates right in your mailbox. Also follow me on Instagram @ssatpreetkaur,  for more instant updates on all things fun, food, fashion and travel.

Love Satpreet Kaur

Mahabalipuram


Mahabalipuram, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its exuberant group of sanctuaries, founded by the Pallava kings, was carved out of rock along the Coromandel Coast in the 7th and 8th centuries. It is known especially for its rathas-temples in the form of chariots, mandapas – cave sanctuaries, giant open-air reliefs such as the famous ‘Descent of the Ganges’, and the temple of Rivage, with thousands of sculptures to the glory of Shiva. It is so fascinating to see structures so old, surviving innumerable natural and man-made calamities and still have power to leave you impressed.

Radisson Chandigarh, Zirakpur

As I began one of the most interesting trips of the year, the one that that lasted 18 days, the one that has intensive planning because most of it was done solo, but also the one that had seen some great hospitality. My first stop for this trip was Chandigarh, and I was hosted by ‘Radisson Chandigarh, Zirakpur

Chandigarh, is a great place, especially when you are travelling from south (it becomes your pit stop), it connects you to some of the best places in north that you can drive to, while enjoying the best of scenic beauty. My stay was excellent and relaxing, its fairly easy to reach a hill station in Himachal within few hours from the city, and that was exactly where I was headed.

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Lobby at Radisson Chandigarh

Located at in Zirakpur, conveniently away from main city provides a convenient home base for business and leisure travelers seeking easy access to Chandigarh International Airport and top tourist sites. The sprawling open spaces around the property provides a natural respite from its concrete buildings.

Deluxe Room at Radisson Chandigarh

The visit to city from the hotel took us around 20 mins from the property, which we visited to enjoy a bit of night life and a taste of Punjabi music in the land of Punjabis, and of course we were thrilled. The hotel was gracious enough to arrange a pick and drop on request and followed up on any assistance as we girls’ parties the night away.

Warm welcome at Radisson Chandigarh

Room with a view at Radisson Chandigarh

Rooms –We were checked in to the ‘Deluxe Room’ which had a very tastefully done decor, with minimal fuss. The room was spacious, with an option for separate dinning, comfortable bed which almost excluded royal feel, work desk, closet and a bathroom. Some handcrafted chocolates and fresh fruits awaited to welcome us along with refreshing welcome drinks. The room was equipped with all the amenities like Wi-Fi, coffeemakers, mini refrigerator, In-room safe and 24-hour room service to ensure we had a pleasant experience, which we sure did.

When you are work is travel, a good desk is always welcome

Lassi and Parathas, when in Radisson Chandigarh

An extended  dining area in my room at Radisson Chandigarh

Food: The food at ‘Feast’ the all-day dining and multi-cuisine restaurant at Radisson was something we really enjoyed. We tried a couple of dishes from the a-la-carte menu, on chef’s suggestion and each one was to die for. From the ‘Kukad Ki Pukar Shorba’ to ‘VIP Road Chicken Tikka; to ‘Murgh Lassuni Zafrani’, each dish was too good. For drinks we had the tangy ‘Aam Panna’ and ‘Cherry Berry’ each refreshing and unique in taste, leaving to reorder the aam panna. Don’t miss the dessert!

Tasting best of local delicacies and most fusion way at Radisson Chandigarh

Gulab Jamun Cheesecake at Radisson Chandigarh

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Brew Lounge at Radisson Chandigarh

They also have a spacious ‘Brew Lounge’ where you can enjoy exotic teas, freshly brewed coffee and lip-smacking pastries.

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Spa at Radisson Chandigarh

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Workout on the go at Radisson Chandigarh

Leisure: I loved the roof top, it offers a pool and loungers to unwind. It wasn’t winters but the weather was pleasant enough to enjoy a sunset or just have a cup of coffee, we hear they have something very exciting planned for the rooftop in coming months. The hotel also has other services on offer like a business center, fitness center, spa and salon and dedicated events spaces to take care of all your needs. The spa, is well equipped with professional masseuse, who give you a relaxing treatment. Now your visit can be for work or leisure, but a good spa therapy relaxes your mind, body and soul, leaving you refreshed and energetic, it certainly worked for us.

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Rooftop pool at Radisson Chandigarh

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Terrace lounge at Radisson Chandigarh

The location– away from the city yet not too far- makes it perfect for staycations, family vacations, business travelers and even hosting weddings. I’m definitely staying at the same if i ever visit Chandigarh again. The hospitality and food are a definite add on.

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Villa Shanti, Pondicherry

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Entrance of  Villa Shanti, Pondicherry

2018 has been a really special year so far, and most important part of it was me braving up to take my first solo trip ever. Being born and raised in south, I wanted to pick a place in south (i think its more of a mental satisfaction for me) and a place that had a lot to do, gave me an opportunity to interact with some interesting people and also enjoy a bit of solace; and so i ended up in Pondicherry (which by the way has a direct flight from Hyderabad)

Corridor that leads to room and courtyard at Villa Shanti

I stayed at the French quarters where bougainvillea adore the walls, streets are filled with colored buildings and excited tourists. Right amidst all this beauty stands a beautiful boutique property ‘Villa Shanti’. A wooden door that is hard to miss leads you into this 100-year-old property turned into a boutique hotel with new additions to its architecture, tastefully done. Right from the entrance of sturdy wooden doors, that will want any passerby intrigued to step inside; the property is a beautiful amalgamation of urban luxuries and heritage influence.

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The property is minimalist, yet rich in details. From door knobs to tile work, murals to crockery that intricately blend in and make  Villa Shanti unique. Apart from being a welcoming spot for tourists, the place also promotes local artisans and try sourcing most of the products locally. Staying or not, there restaurant always has a waiting that pretty much speaks about the food and service.

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The four poster bed in my room at Villa Shanti

My room at Villa Shanti

Rooms: Villa Shanti has 15 aesthetically designed rooms that are built around the inner courtyard. I stayed in one of their ‘Junior Suits’ that is generously sized and comes with a four-poster king-size bed. The room also has an extended and spacious wash and change area that include his and hers sinks, shower area and toilet. The room in addition has a study table, cupboard to store your essentials and windows that lead ample of sunlight and some that open up into a balcony. The furniture is all made of locally sourced wood, antique door handles, handmade amenities from Auroville and structural lamps added up as magnificent details, one can’t fail but adore.

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Working on a holiday never felt better

The indoor and outdoor living spaces harmoniously balance comfort and simplicity, a broad veranda runs alongside the bedroom around the verandah below, providing ample space for outdoor lounging, I however loved spending time here working, having my evening tea and overlooking all the buzz taking place in the courtyard, which helped with fact that even though I was working, the vibe was of a vacation.

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For breakfast the spread includes freshly baked breads and croissants, fresh juice, eggs of your choice and fruits of the season.

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My first attempt at the Betel leaf salad, and totally loved it

Villa Shanti serves up some amazing meals, with a selection of sea food, continental bakes, grills and a choice of regional and Indian dishes. Breakfasts to Dinner everything is served out in the courtyard, yet ambiance during the day is completely different than what it is at night. While during the day it has more tropical vibe, at night its lively, candle lit and romantic making it perfect place to dine, be it with family or friends.

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Cafe Bar at Villa Shanti

The Café bar- It is my favorite place to chill adjoining the courtyard offers some amazing alcoholic concoctions you would love to sip on, even if you are sitting by yourself in the softly lit courtyard. Located opposite to the patio and the vertical garden, it offers snacks inspired by Indian street food, as well as various sandwiches and salads. Here you can also choose to enjoy a meal, sip a cocktail made from fresh juices, listen to music, or just relax and read one of the books from their library.

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Courtyard lit up for dinner at Villa Shanti

The Restaurant: Staying or not the resto is highly recommended to anyone visiting Pondicherry. Weekday or weekend you are bound to see the restaurant full house most of the times. The restaurant is divided into two distinct spaces; one opens onto the patio and the vertical garden; the other is air-conditioned and located in the older part of the building. All the dishes focus on quality, freshness and seasonal ingredients, which they source from the local suppliers.

Vacation isn’t ever complete without a spa for me, it’s like a ritual. So, when they told me I could have mine in the room, I just took up the opportunity and got myself a well-deserved massage, that it felt so good after a long day at Auroville. Also move on to my next blog to read all about ‘La Villa’ the sister property of Villa Shanti where i stayed for next two days in Pondicherry. 

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Love Satpreet Kaur

Clarks Amer, Jaipur

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Jaipur is one of my favorite cities in India, it is a perfect mix of heritage, modern royalty and some of the best hotels. I can keep coming back to city and still have so much to look forward for. This time my stay was extended by ‘The Clarks Amer’ that represents exactly the same. The grandeur perfectly in sync with contemporary architecture, hosting leisure travelers and business delegates alike.

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Room with a view at Clarks Amer, Jaipur

I experienced the warmth of their hospitality right when I reached Jaipur. Chauffeur along with a hotel staff member came to pick me up, as I reached way early in the morning, they pleasantly stopped for a quick cup of tea at Tapri on request, and i finally felt i was in Jaipur.

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Scrumptious breakfast in room at Clarks Amer, Jaipur

On welcome I was swiftly checked in to my suite, very tastefully-furnished and spacious with a living area, dining table that can easily accommodate 4 to 5 people and a separate area leading to washroom and bedroom that has glass a window giving a slight peek of Hawa mahal amidst trees and also overlooking pool, with all necessary amenities of a star hotel. While I dozed off catching up on my sleep from all the hectic travel, the chef was kind enough to send in a late breakfast right to my room and I was so delighted to see hot kachoris, kadi and jalebi. I savored every bit of it, and this is exactly what a first breakfast in Jaipur should be like.

Clark Amer is equipped with some of the finest restaurant in town, staying or not, these are must visit when in Jaipur. Each is special in its own way and I was glad I was staying here for three days, and got ample of time do devour at each restaurant and also explore the city.

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Rajasthani Thali at Durbar, Clarks Amer, Jaipur

Durbar- The all day dining restaurant serving North Indian and Continental cuisines, i had my very first meal here and it was an elaborate Rajasthani thali, it included laal maans, dal baati and even ker sangri among other dishes. The venue is designed for enjoying a delicious feast with friends and family.

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Some Asian food at taBLU, Clarks Amer, Jaipur

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Coffee Martini, at rooftop taBLU, Clarks Amer, Jaipur

taBLU- The most happening place in Clarks Amer (apart from Lobby during the day, which is always buzzing with exited guests), is a rooftop restaurant that offers breathtaking views accompanied with great drinks and good music. Their LIT is something I would definitely recommend apart from the coffee martins. The place often sees live performance and keep hosting famous bands. It is a perfect place to visit for drinks and if you are staying inhouse, then there is nothing better than this, post a long touristy day, the mere fact that your room is right below is relaxing.

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Mughlai Thali with a view at Dhola Maru, Clarks Amer, Jaipur

Dhola Maru- Is the specialty restaurant that serves Mughlai, Rajasthani and North Indian located on top floor this restaurant too has perks of twinkling city lights, a view that adds to the royal and romantic ambiance. The hospitality throughout my stay has been incredibly warm, but it was this place that brought out the best of it. They have some of the most experienced, humblest and welcoming staff. The thali I had was a gastronomical treat, it included Nihari Gosht, Nargisi Kofta, Paneer Makhni, Tava Veg Lazeez, Lassuni Dal, Kache Gosht ki Biryani, Purani Raita an Malpua for dessert.

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Half n Half Pizza at Zolocrust, Clarks Amer, Jaipur

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Pasta with home grown veggies at Zolocrust, Clarks Amer, Jaipur

Zolocrust – Probably the first restaurant you will spot when you enter the hotel, the place is filled with light aromas of coffee and freshly baked breads during the day. It is a 24×7 live bakery and pizzeria, but what makes it special is that every service here, even beyond cooking is all take care by the chefs themselves. From serving to clearing tables, not using plastic to offering vegan options, the place definitely has set its standard very high. They offer some really good desserts, apart from pizzas, pasta and shakes that I highly recommended.

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Post spa lounging at Clarks Amer, Jaipur

‘Clarks Amer’ happens to the first 5-star hotel in Jaipur in the state of Rajasthan, and while you may be busy exploring heritage outside, they also happen to have the oldest working lift in the city. They have a beautiful pool, take a dip or just lounge around, or even better take a spa treatment just like I did. While I had a lot to explore, I went for a quick foot massage but they do offer full body massages, because what’s a holiday without a quick spa treatment.

Located on the prestigious JLN Marg, Clarks Amer is just a 5-minute drive from the Jaipur International Airport and a 15-minute drive from major city attractions such as City Palace, Birla Mandir, Jantar Mantar and Hawa Mahal. They are perfectly equipped for large events, conferences and weddings, but with my experience I will suggest you to make your booking way in advance, so it’s not sold out, which it tends to most of the times.

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Coco Shambhala, Sindhudurg

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Aerial view of Coco Shambhala, Sindhudurg

Goa has for long known as to be the party capital of India, but there is so much more to it. The exotic landscape, virgin beaches, water sports and luxury indulgences. Named as one of the best beach villas by a leading magazine ‘Coco Shambhala’ as personally experienced is a tropical paradise with best of hospitality, amenities and privacy.

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Open air villa at Coco Shambhala, Sindhudurg

Mezze  platter served with Goan poe  bread and wine overlooking monsoon rain at coco shambhala, Sindhudurg 

Coco Shambhala has two properties, one in Goa and the other tucked away on the border of Maharashtra in a small town- Sindhudurg luckily i had my fair chance to experience a stay in both in leisure. Set in a tropical garden, barely 200 meters off the beach, Coco Shambhala, Sindhudurg has villas designed as inclusive, barefoot retreats, each with their own infinity pool looking out to the sea. Coco Shambhala is a place of peace, happiness and tranquility.

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Room with a view at Coco Shambhala, Sindhudurg

Monsoon getaway at Coco Shambhala, Sindhudurg 

There is a lot i love about this place, but what tops it is privacy that nurtures a sense of balance, much needed in the hectic lives of today in combination with ample of nature all around us. Each villa has a stunning sea facing living area, 2 large bedrooms also facing out to the sea, a well-stocked bar in the living pavilion and its own infinity pool where i spent my day and night, sunrise and sunsets, floating in he pool under rain and stars giving me some of the most breathtaking moments of my life so far.

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Spacious lounging area in villa at coco shamabhala, sindhudurg

read, eat, play all at the luxury of your privacy at coco Shambhala, Sindhhudurg

The villas are spacious and are spaces designed for dining and lounging. It works beautifully for quiet reading, intimate and family dinners alike and group bonding over games all at luxury of your villa, while providing a sweeping vista of the sea just below, and the tempting turquoise waters of the infinity pool in front. The bedrooms are designed to provide natural light, just as the entire villa with stunning sea views and boast of artfully designed coconut wood furniture, sitting alongside the modern amenities of a luxury bedroom.

Breakfast by the pool at coco shambhala, sindhudurg

A taste of Malwani cuisine at Coco Shambhala, Sindhudurg

The kitchen team prepares everything ahead of your arrival; Their head chef got in touch with us, post our booking confirmed to discuss our culinary preferences and make tailor menus based on your feedback. Their complimentary car and driver are at hand, to not only take you around but also, run errands for you. We were also provided with free usage of the pre-programmed cell phone in each villa to contact anyone on the Coco Shambhala team for any assistance.

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Missal Pav  for breakfast at Coco Shambhala, Sindhudurg

Their menus showcase the best of Goan cuisine, fresh local produce and sea food. From the mezze platter that’s served with Goan poe bread on welcome (which i have repeatedly ordered every evening) to the delectable spread of Malwani cuisine everything left me craving for more. They also had carefully curated an alluring collection of wines, single malts and craft beers, in the comfort of our (each) own villa. Their Director of Cuisine, Shagun Mehra, crafts new menus each season, which are further tailored to your preferences and palate.

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Coco Shambhala, Sindhudurg is a destination in itself, calm beaches, water sports in the season and if you fancy being a little more energetic and can tear yourself away from the sun lounger the hotel offers option to venture out and visit local villages. After a full day of exploring, the one place we desperately wanted to get back to is the ocean followed by a sun downer at the privacy of our villa.

Infinity pool that overlooks beach and endless ocean, Coco Shambhala, Sindhudurg 

For more visit- www.cocoshambhala.com

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Staycation at Trident Hyderabad

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I have been focusing a lot on my travel side of blogs lately, when i am in town i work on my full-time job that helps me set my next travel goals, amidst all this when i got an invite for a staycation from Trident Hyderabad, i just obliged happily  

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Trident Hyderabad is a business hotel, part of The Oberoi Group located right in the heart of formidable global tech capital. A quintessential business hotel, thanks to its contemporary finishes, club floors with a dedicated lounge, and prime location in Hitec City.  From the lobby that is welcoming, staircase with grand chandelier to the rooms the architecture is modern fused with contemporary art; all while fulfilling that expected 5-star flair. We were mesmerized by the expanse of the property and how simple, yet artistic and modern the architecture was.

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Room: We were allotted the ‘Premier Suite’ one of the best at the hotel, that is perfect for work and relaxation. As soon as we entered there was cozy living room with a work desk and ceiling to floor glass window. The bedroom, spacious and contemporary had a walk-in closet and the bath area with a double vanity counter, bathtub, shower area, robes, toiletries, and everything required to ensure that you feel pampered at any given time of the day.  The comfort was so intense that overslept and ordered a lavish breakfast in bed, because for me its not a relaxing holiday until you get a good 10 hours sleep followed by breakfast in bed.

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The pool was our favorite part to unwind, the pleasant weather outdoors just added to the whole feel. From taking a long dip, lounging post breakfast to enjoying our cocktails and quick bites with twinkling skyline to accompany us during evenings, it was just splendid.  

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Restaurants 

Tuscany is an award-winning Italian restaurant that is focused on fresh seasonal produce, reinventing menu and hosting most interesting food festivals expanding the taste of Italy to guests in finest way possible. The risotto and pizza are my staple favorites here. I love Italian and food festivals like ‘Fiesta Fungi’ that bought a line of dishes all using mushrooms was this year’s favorite. With finest of wines, soulful dishes Tuscany is my favorite in-house restaurant at Trident Hyderabad, also it is open only for dinner only making it a great place for special diner dates.  

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Amara is a multi-cuisine buffet restaurant at the Trident Hyderabad that offers Mediterranean, Asian and European cuisines. The restaurant is functional all through the day from 7 am to 11 pm and also serves a la-carte. While Sunday buffet are extravagant the spread on weekdays are also lavish. We picked a seat by the long window glass that has a view of cyber towers and let world pass by as we savored everything from salads to desserts.  

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Kanak, I feel is heart of this uber luxury business hotel that offers Indian specialty. From a bar at entrance that offers you best of world class spirits to santoor players adding dreamy music to the ambiance the visit here is more of an experience that speaks luxury with every detail.  I was glad to be a part of ‘Lazzat-E-Rampur aur Awadh’ curated by guest Chef Rehman who is known for his expertise in this cuisine all over India. The food was a gastronomical journey of rich flavors, age old recipes in company of talented chefs including in house  Chef Dharmender Lamba, who shared stories and memories that made for an evening to cherish. The menu included dishes like Murgh Tikka Mirza Hasnu,  Chapli Kebab, Nasheela Jhinga in starters, Changezi Murgh, Yakhni Gosht Pulao, Nawabi Baigan Bharta, Anannas ke Boti, Taar Khorma in main course and star of the evening were desserts Ande ka Halwa, which was surprisingly good (i tried something like this for first time) and Chukander-e-Afroz made from beetroot served along with  Gur Ki Yaquiti. 

Ninety-Six, the lounge is open from 1 pm to wee hours of 4 am. Be at an after-meeting drink or just late-night cheer, it is a very soothing place that offers range of single malts, cocktails, beer and wine. The bartender can whip up some really fascinating cocktails just tel him what you prefer and leave the rest on the specialist.   

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Our experience has been a combination of excellent service, great food and warm people that would always bring us back. What truly touches your heart are the little things, the attention to details, in everything they do that sets them a class apart. 

Book : Trident Hyderabad 

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Ayana Fort Kochi

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Kerala has attracted travelers, explorers and traders from all over the world for centuries, drawn to this slice of tropical South India by spices, Fort Cochin (Kochi) is the one of the best place in Kerala for a rich multicultural experience.

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The fort Kochi area has its own quaint charm, It is buzzing with tourists, but each at their own pace – this part of the city has a ‘homestay’ in every corner! I chose to stay at  ‘Ayana Fort Kochi’ for a lot of reason the main being its prime location. One of the biggest delights of Fort Cochin is just wandering and exploring the atmospheric old streets, the mosque, the synagogue, temples and churches, the colourful houses and shops in Jew town and the picturesque Chinese fishing nets and soaking up Cochin’s colourful history.

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Boutique hotels are on rise in India, they are the perfect combination of creativity and luxury, without missing out on comfort, the rooms are spacious and inviting; it is affordable yet high class. ‘Ayana Fort Kochi’ is a luxury boutique hotel with  16-rooms that showcases an ideal marriage of history with modern luxurious comfort. ‘Ayana Fort Kochi’ is a 200-year old courthouse that has been meticulously restored and then renovated to its rightful glory. The hotel and its surroundings take you on a trip down memory to centuries old history. This element of old and new, existing side by side is evident in each area of the hotel.

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With large public spaces, the property lends itself well to showcase art and the Ayana team endeavors to make the hotel a platform to build awareness towards Indian contemporary artists. The hotel’s monochromatic black and white palate lends itself to the striking artwork showcased throughout the property.  Ayana’s commitment to promoting Indian artists is clearly visible as you walk through the hotel, currently they house paintings from established artists such as Amitabh Sengupta and Dhiraj Choudhary, as well as many budding artists, displayed all over the property.

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Luxury Suite: I wasn’t expecting a big room considering the fact that it was a boutique hotel, but to my delight i stepped into a spacious room which was a welcome surprise. The interiors of my room, just like the rest of the hotel was tastefully done and looked elegant and classy. The team has paid minute attention to each aspect of the interiors. Perfect blend of designs and striking colors define Ayana Fort Kochi rooms. The checkered floors have been created using traditional Indian cement tile and give a sense of colonial charm to the entire property.

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The room has a theme of black and white that created a soothing contrast and in addition to it was a splash of blue to add some color. It had a queen size bed with comfortable mattress and soft pillows, a sofa with round table and lounge chair facing television, just beside the huge glass doors that led to a cute and compact balcony that overlooked the street below and also gave a view of port with ships leaving and arriving.

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Food: Ayana places a high priority on food and offers fresh local produce and authentic flavors. One can feast their senses at a stunning restaurant, ‘The Old Court’, overlooking a private garden. It offers a sundry menu based on organic vegetables and only the freshest local catch. The rooftop café has been designed in an Art Deco style and is filled with the exotic fragrance of the Raat Ki Rani tree, growing wild across the area. It was too hot and Humid for me to have a meal here so i choose the old court for my meals or ordered in room. From south Indian to Italian there is nothing they miss out on, however i would suggest you to go local, enjoy the appam with stew, masala dosa, prawn curry, fish and eat your heart out, because once you are back home you will be craving every bit  of it.

Experiences &  Activities: The hotel is equipped with a roof top pool and a fitness suite –that offer mesmerizing views of the sun and sea.  From attending a rooftop yoga class to sculpting the body with strenuous work out at the gymnasium or just cooling off at the roof top pool, Ayana provides for all modern-day luxuries in a very historic setting. In keeping with the luxury component, Ayana is one of the few hotels in Fort Kochi offering a full-service gym.

The hotel also offers curated activities and guided tours for guests based on their preferences and choices. I enrolled myself for an evening of  Kathakali, Kalaripayattu a traditional dance performance and a Backwater tour which is a mandatory thing to do when in Kerala.  They also offer a spice tour and a fishing tour.

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